‘Tis The Season

The Play by Play

The Feud Continues

Outspoken politician + outlandish basketball father = recipe for an entertaining social media feud. And it all began when LiAngelo Ball found himself arrested for shoplifting in China. With the players having returned home following the debacle, Donald Trump took full credit (via twitter, of course) for resolving the situation and thus expected a thank you from the Ball family. Not receiving any, Trump went on to say that he should have left the players in prison. Days later, Lavar Ball had an interview with CNN, and of course Trump’s recent comments came up. While most of Lavar’s responses made little sense, and led the internet to once again meme-ify Ball, he did manage to deny being in a war of words with the President while still avoiding any expression of gratitude. The feud has essentially led to free advertising (estimated around 13.2 million dollars) for Lavar’s Big Baller Brand. How is that possible? Well, Trumps repeated reference to the Ball family has brought Lavar’s company a new audience, one that extends beyond the sports world. Let’s see if Lavar thanks the president for increased sales…

Happy 100th

November 26th marks the NHL’s 100th birthday, making it the second oldest league in the United States (baseball started in 1876) and the only to be founded in Canada. In honor of this historic day, the General Managers of each team (who usually meet at the NHL’s office in Toronto) opted to hold their annual gathering at Le Windsor Hotel, in Montreal, the exact place where the NHL was brought to life back in 1917. There’s an entire website dedicated to interviews, video clips, and events scheduled in celebration of the league’s centennial and over the recent weeks voters have narrowed down the sport’s most historic moments to just two, vying for the honor of greatest.  Stay tuned for an upcoming two-hour documentary, narrated by Jon Hamm, which covers both the unforgettable moments and lesser known stories that  have made the NHL what it is today.

The Faces and Facts

Featured Female – Wojdan Shaherkani (Judo): At the age of 16, Shaherkani became the first female from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympic Games (London  2012). Having never competed internationally previously, Wojdan only received notification of her spot in the Games three weeks prior to her first match. Despite losing in only one minute and twenty two seconds, Shaherkani gained a permanent spot in the fight for women’s rights.

Everson Griffen (Football): A defensive end for, and an integral part of, the Minnesota Vikings. He has tallied at least one sack in nine games this season, the most by any defensive player in the league. Following his first sack of Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving, Griffen lifted up his jersey revealing a handwritten message saying “I just had a baby boy. What should we name him?” While he could face a fine of around $6,000 for altering his uniform, Griffen saw it as a fun way to celebrate the birth of his third child, which he watched via FaceTime during pre-game warm ups. He has already vetoed the names Case and Latavius, two suggestions put forth by his teammates Case Keenum and Latavius Murray, but seems open to suggestions, despite his wife leaning toward Sebastian.

Ryan Reaves (Hockey):  A rookie right-winger for the Pittsburgh Penguins who has brought some big hits to the ice and some to levity to the locker room. The prime target of his joking ways has become his teammate and NHL veteran Phil Kessel.  Since the start of the season Reaves has: hidden in Kessel’s hotel room wearing a terrifying clown mask, mocked Phil’s basketball and card playing abilities, and sported a t-shirt during a postgame interview with Kessel’s face superimposed on top of Michael Jackson’s body. Lucky for Phil, Reaves claims to have a few more shirts waiting to make an appearance.

The UpComing

Ohio State Buckeyes v. Michigan State Wolverines: Considered one of the oldest rivalries in American sports, with the teams first meeting in 1897. To give some context, that means the rivalry predates the first World Series by 6 years and the existence of the NFL by nearly a quarter of a century. What makes it unique, beyond just the history, is that often both teams are ranked in the top 10 (with a combined 19 national titles between the two), meaning the game usually impacts playoff rankings and certainly proves entertaining to watch. According to Cris Carter, Hall of Fame wide receiver and Ohio State alum, it’s not only the players who are taught to hate each other. It’s a part of Ohio life to dislike Michigan and vice versa.  It’s this game, and none other, that really matters, with the victor earning bragging rights for the next 365 days. Ohio State actually has a clock in its facilities that counts down the days to the next Michigan game. Check out HBO’s Special to uncover everything behind this truly all-American rivalry. Game starts at 12pm on Saturday.

New Orleans Saints v. Los Angeles Rams: Following a tough loss to the Vikings, the Rams are hoping to put an end to the Saints eight game winning streak. Both the Rams offense and the Saints defense have had epic turnarounds this season, with LA moving from a dead last ranking to one of the most prolific offenses in the league and New Orleans’ defense recovering from an abysmal 0-2 start.  What’s more, both teams boast strong running games. The Saints claim probably the most productive running duo in the league (and possibly history) with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The Rams have Todd Gurley, who in his third season, ranks fifth in the league in total yards gained (just 15 yards behind Ingram who claims the number 4 spot). Kickoff on Sunday at 4:25pm.

The Weekend Social Hour

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, holiday shopping has kicked into high gear. If you have a sports fanatic in your life, you might be wondering what on earth to get him or her. Is there a gift that they will not only truly love but that will also demonstrate your acknowledgement and/or acceptance of their fandom? 

Tickets to an actual game might be a good place to start. But beyond that, or if you are looking for something a bit more affordable, the options are endless. Every team has it’s own apparel website where you can find hats, shirts, jackets, socks, or really any item sporting the team’s colors and/or logo. You can also search by sport at fanatics.com if you’re interested in a gift that is less about a specific team and more about a league in general. Many websites, like Etsy, provide home decor options, such as artwork, and more personalized/vintage clothing. Uncommon Goods has a huge variety of quite interesting and unique gifts, ranging from glassware sporting football plays to cufflinks made from famous stadium seats. Last but not least, if your significant other or family member claims a certain level of class or sophistication, check out Mashable’s gift ideas. Overall, you can’t go wrong with any sports-related gift, as it shows that  you embrace his or her love of sports, even if you know nothing about the game itself.

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